Smith Maze MIPS Review
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Smith Maze MIPS
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|Pros||Lightweight, reasonably priced, well built||Protective features, lightweight, adjustable ventilation, versatile||Low profile, vents can be closed, magnetic buckle, easy to remove ear pads||Affordable, adjustable vents, MIPS, adjustable dial||Simple, comfortable, good coverage|
|Cons||Vents fixed open, tricky size adjustment||Earpads are challenging to remove, dial hard to use with gloves, style||Velcro adhesive is easy to accidentally remove from the MIPS insert||Heavy, larger profile||Fixed open vents, goggle compatibility, version we tested doesn't have MIPS tech|
|Bottom Line||A simple, light, great helmet||Equally at home on the skin track as the resort, we reached for this budget-friendly helmet frequently on ski tours||A helmet that appeals to many riders and has the feature set and price to make it an excellent value||Equipped with MIPS, adjustable vents, and an adjustable dial, this model has high-end features and strong performance at a stellar price||A protective, rugged helmet offered at a very reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Smith Maze MIPS||Smith Mission MIPS||Pret Cynic X2 MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS||Giro Ledge|
|Goggle Compatibility (10%)|
|Specs||Smith Maze MIPS||Smith Mission MIPS||Pret Cynic X2 MIPS||Giro Ratio MIPS||Giro Ledge|
|Measured Weight (in ounces)||15.1 oz||16.9 oz||17.2 oz||21.7 oz||17.0 oz|
|Rotational Impact Protection System||MIPS||MIPS||MIPS||MIPS||None (also sold with MIPS)|
|Adjustment System||Self-adjusting lifestyle fit system||Adjustable Dial Fit System||RCS QR Fit System||In form dial||Removable Auto Loc 2 Fit System|
|# of Vents?||9||18||12||10||8|
|Number of Sizes||4||4||4||4||3|
|Removable Ear Covers?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Certifications||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 Class B||ASTM F 2040, CE EN 1077:2007 Class B||ASTM F 2040, CE EN1077 B06||CE EN 1077||ASTM F 2040 11, CE EN 1077|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Maze is a lightweight helmet and feels that way in hand and on the head. But don't confuse that with a cheap feel. This helmet has been constructed with a lot of thought. It's tight and clean, simple and effective.
Fit and Comfort
The Maze fit most of our testers well, with and without a beanie. As with other Smith helmets, it leans towards fitting rounder heads but can be adjusted to accommodate different shapes. One of the ways Smith achieved its simplicity was by dropping the BOA adjustment system. The Maze does have different foam pads that can be removed or at least rearranged to achieve a nice fit, but keep that in mind for sizing if you're planning on wearing a beanie underneath.
Although the Maze fit our lead tester well, it got docked a few points in our Comfort category for not having an adjustment system. If having an easy adjustment system is vital to you, other options might work better.
Helmets like the Maze with vents that are fixed open can only be so warm; that's the nature of having cold air flowing through a helmet: period, end of story. If you run hot or can fit a beanie under your helmet, then you probably won't have any issue at all. With that in mind, our testers had a fine time staying warm by adding a thin beanie or buff under the Maze on cold days. However, without a way to adjust the helmet size easily on the go, adding and subtracting a beanie throughout the day will affect the fit and may not work as well as having a helmet with closeable vents.
With the above critique in mind, remember that the Maze only has nine vents, and they are not closeable, making it inferior to helmets with adjustable ventilation. That said, the Maze has removable earpieces, which can let in a lot of airflow on a warm day. Although this isn't a ventilation-specific helmet, it does a great job pulling air through the helmet when you're moving, and the only time our testers had an issue with overheating was while side-stepping or hiking to distant in-bounds terrain.
Weight and Bulk
The Maze is one of the lightest contenders in our review. It fits all of our testers well and has a modern look that is pleasing to the eye and fits under jacket hoods on stormy days. Some will argue that a lighter helmet is a better option because less weight on your head decreases the chances of whiplash injuries during a crash. However, it is hard to prove this theory definitively in any tests, but if lightweight gear is your thing, this is your helmet.
As with other Smith helmets, the Maze performed the best with Smith goggles, with only the most subtle gap noticed during cold days and high speeds. The removable goggle lock held our goggles in place, and we had no fear of them falling off. Some prefer to wear goggles on the inside of this helmet, a new-school look, and you can remove the goggle clip for an even cleaner look.
Our testers liked the look of the Maze, no-frills with a clean shape. It feels modern and new age but doesn't present as bulky like some of the other more skate-inspired helmets. The Maze treads the gray area between old and new school, and we see people wearing their goggles inside and outside the helmet. The color choices of the Maze add a lot of style as well.
Should You Buy the Smith Maze MIPS?
The Maze is a great choice that won't break the bank for a solid, well-built helmet from a name you know and trust. If you split time at the resort and in the backcountry, the value of this model increases. We recommend it to those who value simplicity and clean lines and are willing to sacrifice a few other features to achieve this look.
What Other Ski Helmets Should You Consider?
Smith knocked out a great product with the Maze. They shot for a simple, minimalist helmet and achieved that in volumes. Comfortable, stylish, and warm enough, it vents well and feels light on your head. On top of all that, it's more affordable than much of its competition. However, due to the minimalist design, it lacks features that some users consider essential when out on the mountain. We recommend looking at the Smith Vantage MIPS if things like closeable vents and excellent adjustability are important to you.
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